one's name is mud
(one's) name is mud
Said of one who is regarded unfavorably, often because their reputation has been tarnished. Despite predating Abraham Lincoln's assassination, the phrase is often said to refer to Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was jailed for treating John Wilkes Booth after Booth shot Lincoln. Now that staff knows that I'm the one who proposed the layoffs, my name is mud. His name is mud now that he's been found guilty of embezzling money from the company.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
one's name is mud
Fig. one is in trouble or humiliated. If I can't get this contract signed, my name will be mud. His name is mud ever since he broke the crystal vase.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
name is mud, one's
One is discredited. This term apparently originated in the British Parliament in the early nineteenth century, when it was used for any member who disgraced himself, through either a singularly bad speech or an overwhelming defeat in an election. (In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries mud was slang for “a fool” or “a stupid fellow.”) Some ascribe the usage to Dr. Samuel Mudd, who helped John Wilkes Booth escape after assassinating President Lincoln. Apart from the different spelling, this derivation is a bit of folklore. Actually, “mud” was defined as a “stupid, twadding fellow” in a slang dictionary of 1823, which also stated “And his name is mud” was pronounced after a silly speech. Even earlier, “mud” was defined as a fool or thick-skulled fellow (in Hell upon Earth, 1703). In time, however, the meaning became milder, simply denoting that someone had made a bad mistake.
See also: name
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer